ARTIFACTS NEWSLETTER

THE INFORMED COLLECTOR

GOLD AND SILVERArtifacts Gallery

People are justifiably confused when trying to understand certain base metals and their alloys. What is sterling silver? How is it different from coin silver or fine silver? How can 14K gold be ordered in yellow, rose, green, or white? Isn't all gold, gold? What is the difference between carrots, karats, and carats?

CARROTS, KARATS, CARATS AND ALLOYS!!

Pure gold is 24K. Since it is too soft for most uses, it is alloyed with other metals to achieve a desired hardness, color, and melting point. Silver and copper are the most commonly used additives, but many other metals can be used. The relative amount of gold in an alloy is called the karat. This signifies proportion and should not be confused with carat which is used in measuring the weight of gemstones. As for carrots, consult your neighborhood bunny.

All 18K gold contains 75% gold. In order to achieve the various colors, alloys are added making up the remaining 25%. 18K yellow contains 15% silver and 10% copper. 18K white gold contains 25% palladium. White gold can also be alloyed with copper, nickel, and zinc. Some 18K gold is stamped .750, indicating 750 parts out of 1000 are gold.

All 14K gold contains 58% gold. 14K yellow gold is alloyed with 25% silver and 17% copper. 14K rose gold contains 32% copper and 10% silver. 14K green gold contains 35% silver and 7% copper. 14K white gold has 42% palladium. Some 14K white gold is stamped 580.

WHAT IS GOLD-FILLED?

Gold-filled refers to a material on which a layer of gold has been fused. The resulting ingot is rolled or drawn to make sheet and wire. The base is clad with 10% 12K gold. This is superior to gold plated jewelry, since the layer of gold is thicker and will wear better.

WHAT IS GOLD PLATED?

Gold plated jewelry has a thin coat of gold deposited on the base metal by the process of electroplating. Gold plating can be applied on a variety of metals while 24K gold plated over sterling silver is called vermeil.

WHAT IS STERLING SILVER?

Pure silver, like pure gold, is too soft for most uses and, therefore, alloyed. Many metals can be used, but copper is preferred since it toughens the alloy without detracting from the bright shine of silver. Sterling is the alloy most commonly used in jewelry manufacturing and silversmithing. Sterling silver is 92.5 % silver and 7.5% copper. It is often stamped .925. If the copper content is 10% to 20%, it is referred to as "coin silver". If silver is clad over copper, it is Sheffield Plate, named for an industry centered in Sheffield, England in the 1700s.

There are government regulations controlling the marking of gold and sterling. Most fine jewelry is stamped, and collectors are wise to check for appropriate markings.

FEATURED ARTIST OF THE MONTH

NIKOLAS WEINSTEIN

Glass

Glass

Glass

Combining sensual design with innovative craftsmanship, Nikolas Weinstein Studio's glasswork possesses uncommon elegance and sculptural integrity.

Inspired by the essential geometry of nature, Nikolas's limited edition pieces take shape as the gaffer blows a red-hot orb of glass into an iron mold. Still glowing from the heat, some portions of the glass are then cut and peeled back while others collapse and bend. When the process is complete, each creation emerges as a unique response to the challenges posed by a basic form, reflecting the influence of gravity, position, and scale on the evolution of molten glass.

As part of a contemporary movement that emphasizes the dynamism of studio glass, Nikolas's work echoes the sculptural qualities of more traditional media such as bronze, marble, and stone.

Beautiful as sculptural elements, grouped upright or on their sides, the pieces also serve as vases, bowls, and platters.

The studio, located in a former warehouse, is tucked away in San Francisco's Mission District.

For Information Call Toll Free 1.800.304.3161

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